Monday, September 10, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 09/10/07 from Green Bay, WI.

The Big News: Vince’s son is Hornswaggle.

Conclusive Finishes: 3 of 5.

Show Analysis:

The show started with Vince McMahon. He said he’s glad his son isn’t from Green Bay, and ripped up a copy of WWE Magazine with Mr. Kennedy on the cover. He said he wanted to know who his son is. Great Khali came out, and said things are looking up can only mean him. He said he would be honored to be called the Great McMahon. JBL came out and said things are looking up refers to money. He said he could be JBM. Jeff Hardy came out and said things are looking up might mean his high flying. However, Jeff didn’t want to be Vince’s son. The attorney came on the screen. Vince said he hates all attorneys, including his own. The attorney said the son would be revealed later, but that Jeff isn’t the son. Jeff celebrated, so Vince made Jeff vs. Great Khali.

Paul London beat Lance Cade. They acknowledged the tag title switches this week. Cade worked over London with a back drop and clothesline. Trevor Murdoch got on the apron presumably to interfere, but as the referee went to stop him, Paul Kendrick ran in and hit sliced bread #2 on Cade for the pin.

Coach told Vince that he barred John Cena from the building. Coach then introduced the number 2 online vote getter for Vince’s son, Stevie Richards. Vince laughed uproariously. He wanted to know who the top vote getter was, and Coach said HHH. Elsewhere, Carlito said that he isn’t worried about HHH, because he is full of surprises. He said he would get to pick HHH’s opponent, and it would be someone who has beaten HHH multiple times. Carlito added that by the end of the night Carlito would prove to be HHH’s daddy.

Triple H defeated the “Natural Monster” Shelton Benjamin. HHH threw Benjamin into the post twice and went after his shoulder. Carlito distracted HHH, allowing Benjamin a spinning heel kick and DDT. HHH came back quickly with a clothesline, spinebuster, pedigree and pin. Carlito came in with a chair, but HHH got that from him. Finally, Coach bailed out Carlito by announcing that Carlito vs. HHH would be no DQ, but only for Carlito. This segment made Carlito look totally impotent, but it’s not like he was strong going in.

Randy Orton came out and referenced kicking John Cena’s father. He said he got in Cena’s head, and now Cena will make a mistake for him to capitalize on. Cena came through the crowd to attack Orton. Security held them apart. Cena told Vince that he will have revenge upon Orton for what Orton did to his father. It was a really nice little promo by Cena.

Mickie James beat Jillian Hall with a spin kick. Candice did commentary. Beth Phoenix jumped both competitors after the match. Candice came in to make the save, but received a fisherman buster for her efforts. The diva search is back. The announcers plugged it with more enthusiasm than Unforgiven.

Sandman beat Santino Marella via disqualification. Santino bashed The Condemned before the match. Santino grabbed Sandman’s cane and hit it with him early. He then tried to break the cane over his knee but failed and was in comedic pain. Backstage, Maria told Ron Simmons that she was thinking of breaking up with Santino. Santino at that point jumped Simmons, said damn, and left with Maria.

Great Khali squashed Jeff Hardy. He brushed off Hardy’s offense and hit a big boot. He squeezed Hardy’s head for a while and pinned him. Batista came out after the match and cleared Khali out of the ring.

The show closed with Vince McMahon and the WWE “active” roster. The attorney decided to eliminate candidates for bastard son through a procession of clues. It was very hokey. The son isn’t extreme, so the ECW roster left. The son has a fondness of gold, so the guys who haven’t been champion left. The son’s skin and hair are fair, so the non-white and dark haired guys left. The son is an individual champion, so Cade and Murdoch left. This left Sandman, HHH, and JBL. The son loves to play the game was the final clue. This left HHH and Vince. The attorney then clarified that the games include horseshoe, hopscotch and marbles, and that it was Hornswaggle. He came out and celebrated. HHH laughed at a disgusted Vince to close the show.

Final Thoughts:

From the perspective of selling a PPV Sunday, this show was a real failure. The Vince’s son storyline completely overwhelmed the hype for that show. WWE is in a tough spot with a really thin roster right now, but 40 minutes of Vince isn’t the answer. As for Hornswaggle as the son, it’s probably for the best. The whole angle was really silly, but at least now they can forget about it and treat it like a joke. Using a bigger star would likely have made them look silly. Now that they have paid off the angle, hopefully the focus can shift back to the main eventers again next week.


Anonymous Bob said...

Ugh. I know a lot of people were guessing Hornswaggle, but I just couldn't bring myself to believe they'd have such a lame payoff. But as soon as they mentioned the fondness for gold, it was clear the leprechaun was going to be the son. Hell, in a bit of (apparently) brilliant, long-term foreshadowing, they even called the guy "Little Bastard" for a long time before giving him a name.

For a brief time, I thought it was going to play out that this was an elaborate prank that Triple H had orchestrated. I actually think that would have been preferable.

I'm infected with the sickness where I can't stop watching no matter how much I dislike the current product, but I can't imagine that many normal people who were interested this storyline are going to be pleased and feel compelled to tune in next week.

On an unrelated note, I'm always a bit puzzled when show reviewers knock a show for not selling the PPV. Yes, it's kind of mind boggling that they'd do such a poor job, but are you reviewing the show from the perspective of a WWE stockholder who wants to make sure that the fans are hoodwinked into ponying up their money, or are you reviewing it as entertainment? If the latter, I think we'd hope they'd do an atrocious job hyping every PPV and instead would (foolishly, from a business standpoint) give away all the good stuff on free TV.

For an example of this, during the Attitude era there was a stretch where it seemed they had more title changes on Raw than on the PPVs, and they'd often have next-day rematches of PPV bouts that seemed more important than the PPV originals. Would those Raws get poor reviews because they were bad for WWF business?

It just seems odd for a reviewer to complain that they're giving too much away for free on TV or that they're not making us feel compelled to purchase a PPV.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

You can't forget, though, that during the Attitude era, they actually did a good job of building up PPVs, and while title changes happened regularly on free TV, they still made an effort to make the PPV matches important.

Back then, they even made undercard matches seem important. Debuts for Tazz, Angle and the like were built up like big deals. The Tag titles still meant something. Right now, the only thing they make seem even the slightest bit important are Cena, Aitch, and I guess 'Taker and Khali. The titles? Not so much. They're kind of hot and cold with trying to give the Raw title credibility, and it doesn't seem like they're overly concerned with the other two shows'.

Personally, I'd say Todd has done a pretty good job distinguishing between an entertaining show and a "good business" show, as well as particular segments. He loved the first comedy sketch with Regal as GM from a few weeks back (can't remember what it was, I think it was the week before WWE Idol), after all.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

My perspective on evaluating wrestling is how good of a job it is doing building business. That's pretty much how I've always thought about the business, and it's what interests me about the business the most - what you can do to get people to pay to see matches. Thus, my reports are first and foremost an evaluation of how well the show does its job in that regard. Now, a good entertaining show I think is good for business. It makes people want to tune in and want to order PPVs. But if the show is kind of bland and doesn't sell a PPV coming up in days, well, that's bad. Raw on Monday I don't think was particularly entertaining, thus there isn't the dilemma of a fun show that potentially is counterproductive. In those instances, I look at how fun it was and how much damage the booking truly did. And as Dean said, the attitude era was selling the PPVs well enough that they could give other stuff away on TV. The system now seems to be to emphasize non-wrestling TV storylines over PPV matches, and that's crazy.

12:33 AM  

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